Agnes Ann Walsh passed away at 100 years of age on June 30, 2021. Miss Walsh generously bequeathed $50,000 to Washington Academy to support a scholarship fund for students pursuing post-secondary classics/romance language majors. Additionally, she has provided $200,000 to help support students studying this discipline at the University of Maine, at Orono (UMO), with priority given to Washington Academy graduates. Miss Walsh also provided a sizable gift, allowing UMO to endow a chair in the classics and romance languages department.
Washington Academy fondly remembers her as where she began her long and successful teaching career. She graduated from the University of Maine, at Orono, in 1941 and began teaching French at WA the following fall. It was a time when many young men attending WA had left the area and were serving in all branches of the armed forces during World War II.
It didn’t take long for Miss Walsh to begin making a difference at Washington Academy and leaving behind fond and meaningful memories for students during such a difficult time. In 1942, her French language expertise gave Miss Walsh the ability to coach students to effectively compete in the Junior Prize Speaking Contest held at the East Machias Congregational Church on April 10, 1942. Juniors Barbara Small ‘43 and Jane Longfellow ‘43 were selected to represent Washington Academy at the University of Maine Speaking Contest.
During the same year, Miss Walsh’s passion for supporting WA students in the armed forces prompted the creation of the first school radio broadcast. The broadcast message was boldly titled, “No Time to Be Neutral,” and advocated the purchase of war bonds and stamps to shorten the war. The bonds and stamps drive was a tremendous success, with Washington Academy being the first school in the county to win the “Schools-At-War-Flag.” Over ninety percent of WA students purchased savings stamps and bonds through a regular purchase plan.
In 1943, the WA Glee Club also returned after a year of lapse. As assisting club adviser, Miss Walsh was instrumental in the club’s contribution to the Washington Academy Christmas celebration that year. An effort that indeed brought joy to students attending school while many of their peers were away from home.
Known 1941 as the Academy Building, Washington Academy is looking forward to celebrating the bicentennial of the iconic Old Academy in 2023. As we look back on the time Miss Walsh spent here at WA, we also recognize the difference she continues to make today for Washington Academy students nearly eighty years later and into the future.
1943 Washington Record photograph of faculty members. Standing (L-R) Mrs. Clayton, Principal Gardner C. Pope Seated: (L-R) Mrs. John Pullen, Miss Agnes Walsh, Mrs. J. Burleigh Crane